Big TV talent test for local entertainer
TONIGHT is the night for an impressionist from Wisbech who is hoping to wow the implacable Simon Cowell and millions of television viewers in the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
Paul Burling came top in his semi-final appearance as Harry Hill on Wednesday night and is looking to make the right impression tonight to win the £100,000 cash prize and the chance to perform before the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.
And his family and friends in Wisbech and Wittering will be glued to the television screen from 7.30pm rooting for him.
The 41-year-old father-oft-hree said: “I’m a bit nervous but I’m feeling quite confident and I’m concentrating on doing a good job. It’s all a bit crazy.
“I didn’t expect to get so far, but I don’t think anybody does.
“It can be quite harsh so it was a risk to take part because you don’t know which way it is going to go.
“Family and friends have been very supportive and everybody is really pleased for me.
“It’s crazy but it is great to have such backing, I think I’m lucky really.”
The veteran impressionist and comedian is originally from Wisbech, but has been travelling around the holiday park and club circuits for 22 years, trying to get his big break.
He even worked for Robbie Williams’ dad in the 1980s after being spotted doing Tommy Cooper impressions while sweeping up behind a bar. He now lives near Bristol but returns regularly
to see his mum, dad and sister in Wisbech and is well known in the area.
Comedienne Sonia Allen, who lives at Wittering with her husband RAF Warrant Officer David Allen, has known Paul for 13 years, since they met sharing digs in Torquay.
She said it was fantastic to see her friend get the television exposure and the recognition he deserves.
She said: “He’s such a nice bloke and he’s a local lad. His family are still in Wisbech and he’s back on a regular basis. It would be nice for everyone around here to get behind him.
“He’s worked for 22 years as an impressionist and has gone around all the holiday parks and all the clubs. For him there is nowhere else for him to go. It’s a last ditch attempt to get a break.
“When you see someone who has talent constantly being knocked back who keeps going on, then seeing him do well and win the public vote is absolutely fantastic.”
Her husband, who works at the tower at RAF Wittering, has also spread the word about Paul by signalling between RAF bases across the country and has been getting his military colleagues to vote for him.
Sonia added that a lot of professional entertainers were scared to take part in the ITV competition in case they get slated on their first appearance.
She said: “If he had got on there and got slated, then t no one would book him at all. It was a massive gamble he’s taken but it’s paid off.”
Britain’s Got Talent is on ITV1 at 7.30pm tonight.
‘IMPRESS US’: Britain’s Got Talent judges Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.
talEnt: Paul Burling doing his impression of Harry Hill on Britain’s Got Talent.